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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Want to Know What Truly Motivates You, and How to Always Stay Motivated?

Want to Know What Truly Motivates You, and How to Always Stay Motivated?

When was the last time you wanted something very badly? Can you think of what drove you towards wanting that desire? And, if you did eventually achieve it, what were your motivations behind that?

When it comes to chasing after something you want, whether it’s a dream job, the car or house you’ve been dying to own, or even the love of your life, there are many forces that attract you towards that desire. Have a walk down memory lane, and think of the last time you were chasing after something that you eventually got, and think about what you went through to get it. What pushed you to get it?

What’s the Force Behind Your Desires?  

Chances are, if you were to look back at your journey towards that achievement, you would realize that at the heart of your motivation was having a specific Purpose. This is the most important driving factor allowing you to be motivated to work hard, or to find for solutions and ways to achieving your ultimate desire.

It’s important to have a purpose or objective, because once you have that meaningful objective, it creates a force that either pushes you forward or pulls you towards it. This push and pull is the basic driving force behind every type of motivation. Motivation can be broken down into two types: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Understanding these two types of motivation will give you greater control over your self-motivation.

What is Extrinsic Motivation?

Let’s take a look at Extrinsic Motivation first. This occurs when we’re motivated to perform a behavior or engage in an activity to earn a reward or avoid punishment. Examples of this sort of motivation include working overtime on a project because you want some form of approval from your boss, or arriving to work on time to avoid being reprimanded by your boss. An extrinsic motivator could also be competing in a contest to win a cash prize or award.

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In each of these examples, the behavior is motivated by a desire to gain a reward or avoid an adverse outcome. It’s common for individuals to engage in a behavior not because they enjoy it or find it satisfying, but to get something in return or avoid something unpleasant. This type of motivation is due to an external factor.

What is Intrinsic Motivation?

Now on the other hand, Intrinsic Motivation involves engaging in a behavior because it is personally rewarding. So in this case, you’re now doing an activity for its own sake rather than the desire for some external reward or factor. So this could be wanting to play your favorite songs on the guitar, or watching a comedy at the cinema.

These behaviors are motivated by internal desire. In other words, the behavior itself is the reward, and doesn’t have to be supplied by an external source. Intrinsic motivation occurs when we act without any obvious external rewards. We simply enjoy an activity or see it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and actualize our potentials.

When was the last time you did something simply for the enjoyment of the activity itself?

What’s the Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation?

The key difference between Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation is that Extrinsic Motivation relies on an external reward or penalty, whereas Intrinsic Motivation rewards the behavior itself. If you now go back to think about the desires or achievements that you had in the past, were they extrinsically or intrinsically motivated?

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The reason why many fail to find sustained drive is because they rely a lot on External Motivation. If you want to have long term and sustainable motivation, you really need more of it to be driven by Intrinsic Motivation. Why is that?

The answer is simple. Extrinsic Motivation relies on external rewards or penalties. Once that reward or penalty is gone, this source of motivation will disappear. Also, external rewards or penalties are always finite, and you’re usually not in control of them.

On the other hand, with Intrinsic Motivation — the activity itself is already the reward. So its supply of “motivation fuel” can virtually be unlimited if nurtured properly.

How to Maximize Intrinsic Motivation?

Now that you know the importance of Intrinsic Motivation, the next step would be to maximize it and make it sustainable. As I mentioned earlier, Intrinsic Motivation is the key to long term, sustainable objectives. But, just having a meaningful objective is not enough. To make the most out of it, you have to nurture your Intrinsic Motivation.

It’s important to do so because Intrinsic Motivation can have diminishing returns. For example, you’re feeling thirsty, the weather is warm and you really just want to drink a can of Coke. It’d be great if you could have a coke in hand. Once you have it, it’s so satisfying drinking it. But, imagine I give you a second can, then a third can, and how about a fourth one? Your satisfaction will eventually diminish and you might even get sick of it. So this law of diminishing return occurs everywhere, even for our Intrinsic Motivation.

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How can you Increase Intrinsic Motivation?

Before you can begin nurturing your Intrinsic Motivation, it’s good to know the factors that make up Intrinsic Motivation. This will equip you to level up on your Intrinsic Motivation better.

1. Challenge

The first factor is Challenge. It’s important to set a challenge in your objectives. Then the process of attaining that goal is seen as possible, but not necessarily certain. This way when you eventually overcome every obstacle to achieve that goal, that directly increases your self -esteem.

2. Curiosity

The second factor to maximizing Intrinsic Motivation, is having Curiosity. This is when something in the physical environment grabs your attention (sensory curiosity) or when the activity stimulates you to want to learn more (cognitive curiosity).

3. Control

The third factor is Control. This is the ability to have greater control over yourself and/or your environment so that you can determine what you pursue.

4. Cooperation and Competition

Lastly, we have Cooperation and Competition. This is the satisfaction that you gain from helping others, or pursuing a shared goal through mutual support and camaraderie.

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It could also be the excitement and satisfaction from putting your skills and performance against others, and using it as a yardstick to push your own progress.

Nurture Your Intrinsic Motivation

Now that you know the main factors contributing to Intrinsic Motivation, you can focus on nurturing each factor to level up your Intrinsic Motivation. How can you maximize on each factor to increase your Intrinsic motivation when pursuing after something?

Once you’ve nurtured your Intrinsic Motivation, you’ll start to rely less on Extrinsic Motivations and you’ll find that your perseverance and drive to achieve something becomes much more enhanced.

You will find greater autonomy and independence too, knowing that you need not rely on external sources for acknowledgement, recognition or rewards. This in itself will already be very satisfying.

Applying one of the 7 Cornerstone Skills as covered in this article can already make a difference in your life, imagine learning the whole set of skills to live your best life! How to learn them all? We’ve got the solution at Lifehack — Find out More About Our Solution Here!

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/B-EKZBoxKhY via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on January 20, 2021

How to Find Motivation When You’re Totally Burnt Out

How to Find Motivation When You’re Totally Burnt Out

I was weeping in bed for the third time that week, and I’ve never been a crier. But eight months after having my daughter, and four months after going back to work, the motivation and energy I’d originally felt returning to my job had completely subsided, and I’d hit a wall of fatigue and exhaustion of epic proportions. I’d forgotten how to find motivation.

I felt trapped. I wondered how to stop feeling unmotivated when I was trying to be everything to everyone. In today’s non-stop society, this happens to many people, so if you’re feeling burnt out and exhausted, you’re not alone.

How to Find Motivation

When I think about my experience with burnout, I can’t help but get a visual of when the hero Wesley is declared “mostly dead” in the classic 80’s movie The Princess Bride.

In case you haven’t seen the movie, let’s set the scene: Our hero Wesley is flat on his back, seemingly lifeless with heavy limbs and no strength left in his body after being tortured (almost) to death. Hope is bleak. At this point it seems impossible he has any fight left in him to take on his nemesis, Prince Humperdink, and rescue his lady love Buttercup.

But with the remaining air in his lungs, he mutters two words: True love.

This leads us to the first strategy for how to find motivation, even when you’re completely burnt out:

1. Focus on Your True Love

Our hero Wesley had one thing that motivated all of his actions: Princess Buttercup, his true love.

If you really think about it, the same is true for you. Whether it’s an actual person or a passion, you need to remember your “why.”

What is your reason for rising from this rut? Who or what was your motivation for reading this article? There’s something driving you to not stay stuck. There are some people who are counting on you or some mission that’s bigger than you that provide a clear purpose for everything you do.

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All of your efforts should be focused on your true love and getting back to being the person who can show up for that noble cause.

Knowing your true love is your compass. Whenever you’re feeling lost or uninspired, remembering the people or passion that make you uniquely you gives you that sense of purpose that you need to feel motivated to rise, even when you feel like you have nothing left.

In my case, I had to eventually realize that my true love (my husband) wanted his true love back—not this sobbing, miserable zombie I’d become.

When I realized that my complete lack of motivation and burn out was really affecting him, I knew it was time to get to the root of what was really wrong, which leads us to step 2.

2. Identify Your True Adversary (and Focus Your Limited Energy There)

There’s always someone or something that has to be defeated in every hero’s journey when learning how to find motivation. In the case of our hero Wesley, he had to defeat Prince Humperdink in order to rescue Buttercup. This singular mission helped him reserve his energy for the most critical moment, when he finally met Humperdink face-to-face.

In the case of your burnout, there is most likely a root cause that has to be addressed in order to reclaim your motivation. Getting clear on what that is will prevent you from running around trying to fix every aspect of your life and allow you to simply focus on the one or two things that are really the reason everything’s feeling so hard.

When you’re truly burnt out, it’s likely that it’s negatively impacted multiple areas of your life, so it may feel impossible to identify the root cause of your struggles at the moment.

To get the root cause of your burnout, do a gut check. What are the first 3 reasons that you think have caused you to burn out? What were the first things that popped into your mind?

If you’re stuck, you can also rank each of the following categories of your life from 1-10 (10 being awesome, 1 being awful):

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  • Career
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Money
  • Contribution
  • Personal Growth
  • Spiritual Life
  • Health
  • Romance
  • Fun

The aspects of your life with the lowest numbers should help you identify the true root cause of your burnout.

One way to really figure out what’s wrong is to imagine what a 10 would be to you in each area you rank low. For example, if you rank your job a 2, what would a 10 be to you? Describe it in as much detail as possible and compare it to your current situation.

For example, maybe your 10 job would be remote, but your current job forces you to commute and travel constantly. This has the potential to affect every area of your life, but the solution to most of your woes is to get a job that lets you work from home and doesn’t require so much travel.

When you’re clear on what’s not working, you can start to see a way out, which leads us to step 3.

3. Remember That You’re the Hero

It would have been easy for Wesley to play the victim. After all, he literally was tortured to death and endured unimaginable pain in the Pit of Despair.

However, instead of focusing on what had happened to him in the past, as soon as Wesley was brought back to life, he focused on what needed to be done in order to get his girl. He remembered he was the hero, despite how things may have felt or appeared in the moment.

When we’re burnt out, it’s easy to want to play the blame game or feel victimized by our circumstances.

This isn’t a good way to learn how to find motivation because it prevents us from having any agency or creative point of view on our situation.

If anything is going to change in our life, we have to always remember that we’re the hero of our own story. Despite what circumstances come at us, our responses are 100% our responsibility.

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In my case, I knew the commute and stress from my job was one of the major sources of my burnout. I also knew something was wrong with my health but didn’t have any answers or solutions yet. What was clear was that the stress I was feeling wasn’t going to get any better if I kept doing what I was doing.

I had to save myself. I had to do the work, and perhaps I was using my husband as an excuse because in admitting I needed a break or help, in my mind I was admitting weakness.

I was afraid to be that vulnerable and to ask for and expect his complete love and support when I wasn’t “working for it.” I was more comfortable playing the victim of my circumstances and falling on my noble sword because it made me feel strong.

Can you relate? If so, spend time answering these questions:

  • If you’re honest with yourself, have you been playing the hero or the victim of your story?
  • Claiming your role of hero, what’s your next play?
  • What are you secretly wanting permission for that you need to grant yourself?

Once you take complete responsibility for your circumstances and for saving yourself, there’s another key thing you’ll need.

4. Accept Help From Your Friends

Our hero Wesley was “mostly dead” and unable to walk, feed himself, or hold his head up when his friends Inigo and Fezzik found him. If it wasn’t for them, he would have died in the Pit of Despair, but they held him up, found Miracle Max, advocated for a remedy, and carried him on their backs until he could stand on his own again.

My story is no different. In order to find my motivation again and recover from burnout, it required me to rely on my husband and support network more than I ever had before. It also required doctors, life coaches, and the support of friends and family.

Sometimes showing weakness is the ultimate show of strength.

You are the hero, and you’re also human. None of us can do this on our own, nor are we supposed to. When you’re burnt out, it’s important to ask for help and seek out a support system while you find your way back to yourself[1].

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This is how you learn to achieve your goals after losing motivation.

Final Thoughts

Remember, burnout happens to all of us from time to time, and it’s during these times that we may need to learn how to find motivation again.

Sometimes, doing this requires making a huge life change, but other times, it can be fixed with a new habit as simple as shutting down your computer, putting your phone out of sight, and giving yourself some down time.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities on your plate and with all of the things you’re thinking you need to change, remember to start small and focus on the ONE thing that’s going to make the biggest impact.

My thing was leaving my full time job, which, after months stressing about it, was accomplished in one 10-minute conversation with my manager.

Save your precious energy for only doing the things that truly matter right now, and your motivation will start coming back sooner than you thought possible.

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Featured photo credit: Tania Mousinho via unsplash.com

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